Learning Outcomes

  • Add charts

In Excel charts are a primary way to convey the analyzation of numerical data. If you’ve heard the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” then you know it also holds true for pictures to interpret numbers. Charts make sales trends, marketing numbers and comparisons of all sorts of numerical data come to life.

Excel contains multiple types of charts to choose to make the data speak. Follow these steps to add a chart to a worksheet.

  1. Open a worksheet with the numbers already entered or enter the data to be used in the chart. Make sure to organize the data into the order in which you wish it to be displayed in a chart. Select all the data making sure to include the headers and labels for the data. This should be at least two columns of data.
  2. Select the Insert tab and find the Charts Group on the ribbon. Select the style of chart to use for that data. For this example, it is a Bar chart style, in the 2-D Column, Cluster column chart.  If you are uncertain of what type of chart to use, select the Recommend Charts button and a dialog box with a few options will open.
    Excel screenshot of Insert tab, Charts button options for inserting chart in worksheet.
  3. The chart opens with the data information in it and can be moved, edited and resized like a graphic. Notice that when the chart is selected, the data associated with it is highlighted in different colors
  4. There are two main ways to edit a chart:
    1. To the upper right of the chart area are three buttons that can be used to change Chart Elements, modify the style or color, and edit the valued or names.
    2. Modifying the chart style, color and design can also be accomplished by rolling the cursor over the options in the ribbon and selecting the style desired.
Excel screenshot of Charts Design options for chart in worksheet.

Practice Questions

Learn More

There are many types and styles of charts and graphs from which to choose. The same process of adding a chart as it was done above is used to insert other types of charts. Here are three other examples of types of charts based on the same data as the first chart. See which one seems to represent the data the clearest.